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Ford. Help to search my house this one time; if I find not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity, let me for ever be your table sport ; let them say of me, “ As jealous as Ford, that search'd, a hollow walnut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more, once more search with me.
Mrs. Ford. What hoa, Mistress Page ! come you, and the old woman, down; my husband will come into the chamber.
Ford. Old woman! what old woman's that?
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are simple men ; we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. -Come down, you witeh ; you hag, you; come down, I say.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, good sweet husband :-good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman. Enter FALSTAFF, R. D. in Woman's Clothes, led by
Mrs. Page, L. Mrs. Page. Come, Mother Prat, come, give me your hand.
Ford. I'll prat her:-Out of my door, you witch! [Beats him across to L.] you hag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon! out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
[Exit Fal. L. Mrs. Page. Are you not asham'd? I think you have kill'd the poor wonian. Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it: 'Tis a goodly credit Ford. Hang her, witch!
Eva. By yea and no, I think the 'oman is a witch indeed: I like not when a 'omans has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her muffler.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you follow; see but the issue of my jealousy; if I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open again.
[Exit, R. Page. Let's obey his humour a little further. Come, gentlemen.
[Exeunt all but Mrs. Ford and Mrs. PAGE, R. Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully, Mrs. Ford. Nay, most unpitifully, methought.
Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd and hung o'er the altar.
Mrs. Ford. What think you ? may we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue
him with any further revenge Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is sure scared out of him.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have serv'd him?
Mrs. Page. Yea, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. If they can find in their hearts, the poor, unvirtuous, fat knight shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.
Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant--what trick, what prank, shall we play next?
Mıs. Page. Listen: I have another crotchet. You've heard of Herne, the hunter's tree-your husband hasfarewell-more anon.
[Exit, l. Mrs. F. My husband has ! what does she mean? am I jealous in my turn? I might be if his love of hunting would make me so.
SONNET.-Mrs. FORD. Even as the sun with purple-coloured face,
Had ta'en his last leave of the weeping morn, Rose cheek'd Adonis hied him to the chace,
Hunting he lov’d, but love he laugh'd to scorn, Whilst Venus' anthem still concludes in woe, And still the choir of echoes answer so.
SCENE III.- Ford's House, and View of Windsor
Castle in distance. Enter FORD, Mrs. Ford, Page, Mrs. Page, ANNE
PAGE, EVANS, und Caius, from the steps of Ford's House.
Eva. Tis one of the best discretions of a 'omans as ever I did look upon.
Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
Alrs. Paye. Within a quarter of an hour.
Ford. Pardon me, wife: Henceforth do what thou
I rather will suspect the sun with cold,
Page. "Tis well; no more ;
Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of.
the park At midnight !-fié, fie; he will never come.
Eva. You say he has been thrown into the rivers; and hath been grievously peaten as an old 'oman; methinks there should be terrors in him, that he should not come.
Caius. So tink I too, by gar.
comes, And let us two devise to bring him hither. Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, ihat Herne, the
hunter, Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest, Doth all the winter time, at still midnight, Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns ; And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain In a most hideous and dreadful manner. You've heard of such a spirit; and well you know, The supersitious idle-headed eld Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age, This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.
Page. Why, yet there want not many that do fear
Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our device :*
Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come,
Mrs. Page. That likewise have we thought upon.
[Exeunt all but Mrs. Page and ANNE, R. Anne. Good mother, do not marry me to one I scorn, hate.
Mrs. Page. Come, I will not be your friend or enemy; Fenton will I question how he loves you ; and as I find him, so am I affected: meantime, meet me where fairies meet-at Herne, the hunter's tree. Hope, hope the best.
DUET.-Mrs. PAGE AND ANNE PAGE.
END OF ACT IV.
SCÈNÉ 1.-An Ancient Street in Windsor.- Stage
Enter Page, SLENDER, and SHALLOW, L. Page. Come, come; we'll couch i'the castle-ditch, till we see the light of our fairies.-Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
Slen. Ay, forsooth ; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry, mum;" she cries, “ budget ;' and by that we know one another.
Shal. That's good, too : but what needs either your mum, or her budget? the white will decipher her well enough.
Page. The night is dark ; light and spirits will be
.come it well. No man means evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me. Slen. Sweet Anne Page!
Enter Mrs. Page, Mrs. FORD, and CAIUS, L. Mrs. Page. (c.) Master Doctor, my daughter is in green: when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and dispatch it quickly : go before into the park; we two must go together. Remember, Aune Page is in green.
Caius. I know vat I have to do. Adieu. [Exit, R.
Mrs. Page. Fare you well, sir.-My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter : but 'tis no matter : better a little chiding, than a great deal of heart-break. Now, Mrs. Quickly!
Enter Mrs. QUICKLY, L. Quick. He's coming : the knight is on his way; and, ha! ha! marry! l’ve provided him with a chain and a pair of horns !
Mrs. Ford. What! he holds it for the third time?
Quick. Ay, and says, “ he hopes there is luck in odd numbers."
Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan, now, and her troop of fairies ? and the Welch devil, Evans ?
Mrs. Page. My daughter and the other fairies are all couch'd in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscur'd lights; which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our ineeting, they will at once display to the night.
Mrs. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him.
Mrs. Page. If he be not amaz'd, he will be mock'd; if he be amaz'd, he will every way be mock'd.
Mrs. Ford. The hour draws on :- To the oak, to the oak!
SCENE II.-Windsor Park.-Stage still dark.
Enter FENTON, L. Fent. The important hour draws on, and sweet Anne Page is not yet come! My gloomy apprehensions are realized, and she will prove faithless, like the rest of her sex.